The Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE)

Result of the Chard Auction


Bonham HOUSE Auction

 The RE Museum was humbled by the enormous support received for its campaign to purchase items relating to Lt John Chard VC that were auctioned at Bonhams, London on 17 December 2020.
With the support of over 700 members of the public, Serving and Retired Royal Engineers, the RE Museum was able to secure three of the Lots on sale. These were:
  • Lot 69 - Surveying and drawing instruments in a wooden case, owned by John Chard and relating to his time in Chatham.
  • Lot 74 - "Rorke's Drift - Jan 22nd-23rd 1879", manuscript copy (probably written out by one of Chard's sisters)
  • Lot 75 - Rorke's Drift, Somerset and Family, a small archive of material relating to John Chard VC career and family.
The RE Museum was particularly pleased to have won the survey and drawing instruments which represent brilliantly the work of the Royal Engineers and their professionalism.  This set has particular local resonance as it is accompanied with an address to Chard from High Constable of the manor of Chatham, noting the local pride that his military education was undertaken at the School of Engineering in Chatham.
The items will be place on public display in the Museum in Chatham and be available for researchers to view from August onwards, when the RE Museum opens its new research centre.
Rebecca Nash, Museum Director commented, ‘we are really very happy to have secured these historic items for the Corps. They will bring the events of the Battle Rorke’s Drift to life for our many visitors, enrich our understanding of a remarkable man and inspire future generations of Royal Engineers’.
Sadly, in the face of some very determined competition, the RE Museum was unable to purchase Chard’s manuscript report on Rorke’s Drift or his photograph album; two of the items that we had been most interested in securing for the Collection.
However, without the fantastic support received, the RE Museum would have been unable to secure any of this wonderful collection and the Corps of Royal Engineers and Trustees of the Royal Engineers Museum would like to thank all those who generously donated.
The RE Museum would also like to thank Mr Mark Smith for his advice on the auction, the Army Museum Ogilby Fund, V&A Purchase Fund and the Friends of National Libraries for their support and generosity.